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Thursday, 31 October, 2002, 07:58 GMT
Alnwick scoops best place title
Alnwick boasts a stunning castle
Alnwick was often attacked by the Scots
The historic town of Alnwick in Northumberland is the UK's most pleasant place to live, according to a magazine survey.

With a population of just 8,000, and a stunning castle used in the Harry Potter films, Country Life found the remote town had a higher standard of life than more expensive towns in the South East.

The survey found Midhurst in West Sussex, reputedly home to rock stars and the place where horror film star Boris Karloff died, as second best.

Best 10
1. Alnwick, Northumbria
2. Midhurst, West Sussex
3. Fowey, Cornwall
= Tetbury, Gloucestershire
5. Crail, Anstruther, Scotland
6. Presteigne, Welsh Borders
Fakenham, Norfolk
8. Richmond, North Yorkshire
9. Framlingham, Suffolk
10. Wimborne, Dorset
The magazine rated the towns on criteria such as house prices, crime rate and local amenities.

It put the Cornish fishing village of Fowey and Tetbury in Gloucestershire - near to the Prince of Wales's Highgrove residence - at joint third.

Alnwick, seat of the Dukes of Northumberland since 1309, also did well on local character, quality of local produce, sporting and outdoor opportunities, weather and historical or cultural buildings.

The survey also took into account public transport access to nearby cities, traffic problems and likely future development.

Alnwick was a "surprise" winner, but overcame its rivals in the Home Counties by "a country mile".

Northumbria's stark vistas and beautiful moorland are among the most impressive scenery in the UK.

But the continuing doldrums being weathered by livestock farmers and other traditional industries means Alnwick remains an affordable place to live.

Scene from Harry Potter
Harry Potter scenes were filmed in the town
"Alnwick is no chocolate-box fantasy of rural living... it has the facilities required for life in the real world", said the survey.

Alnwick Mayor Ken Gray said: "My first reaction to hearing this is one of pleasant surprise but really pleased we have got this.

"Alnwick is one of the most unspoilt towns that we have left in the country."

Country Life editor Clive Aslet said he hoped the outcome of the survey would not make Alnwick even more popular.

"I don't think it needs much encouragement, it seems to be doing very well on its own."

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